Friday morning we drove north into Montana to the Little Bighorn Battlefield, the place where General Custer died in an attack on the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians, the last battle won by Indians before they had to surrender to the US government and accept to be relegated to reservations.
Like all the other national parks, national monuments, state parks etc. we’ve been to in the States this place also had a visitor centre with informative maps and brochures, friendly rangers to answer questions and often a good film which tells you about the area, history, nature, wildlife etc. So this was where we started our visit here, too.
There was a small exhibition and a 25-minute film about the battle in 1876 by the Little Bighorn River and its background. It made us a little sad to be reminded that “the land of the free”, as the Americans often call their country, in its early history robbed a people of their freedom and way of life. After the film we went to Custer’s Last Stand – the place where Custer and the 7th cavalry (incl. 5 Danes) were killed by Indians. Small white gravestones mark where they fell, and red ones where the few Indians fell.
Custer had sent two regiments to attack the Indian camp from two other sides (he seemed to have underestimated the number of Indian warriors) and a short drive brought us to the place where they were stopped by the Indians and retired and from where they were rescued by other soldiers the following day. The whole area is yellowish plains and a part of the Crow reservation today.
On the way back to Sheridan we decided to get some lunch but drove past the Custer Battlefield Trading Post because Ole thought it looked too touristy. But we couldn’t find any other more interesting looking eateries in the town (which was hardly big enough to call a town), so we went back to the Trading Post, and it turned out to be quite a nice place with old photos and paintings on the walls, and when we finished lunch by sharing an enormous brownie with ice-cream and whipped cream on top, Ole was quite happy with our choice of lunch venue after all! (In spite of him having to wait while I went through the inevitable gift shop to buy a couple of buffalos).
We spent the afternoon taking a long nap and then had dinner at the historical Sheridan Hotel, which was once owned by Buffalo Bill.